In a fresh embarrassment to the Haryana government in the February Jat quota violence, Sonepat district and sessions judge DS Sheoran, in his report submitted to the Punjab and Haryana high court, has said that during the violence period, the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police had shifted their families to “safer places”, whereas judicial officers were left at the “mercy of god” without providing any security.
The reports submitted by four district and sessions judges on Wednesday talk about the ordeals faced by judicial officers in the violence-affected districts. The reports suggest that the security of judicial complexes was withdrawn, judges were forced to live in transit camps set up by them, and in Jhajjar, the civil administration failed to provide safe passage for cremation of a family member of a judicial officer.
Last month, the report submitted by Rohtak district and sessions judge had brought to light that judges had to flee on bikes and some took shelter in villages to save their lives during the violent phase in Rohtak.
The report submitted by Jhajjar district and sessions judge AS Narang states that the situation was grim and judicial officers in order to save themselves had to leave their homes and stay at two transit houses. The officers met the local SP and IGP on February 20 but were “not provided” security. “In the afternoon, the intimidating voices of disturbance were quite audible even in the court complex. The voices of disturbance had converted into a potent threat, as was visible in the form of smoke emanating from the city, and freaking voices were becoming more prominent,” the report reads, describing the situation in Jhajjar on February 20.
Referring to the condition wherein a woman officer’s mother-in-law passed away and officers had difficulty in reaching hospital and later cremation ground on February 22, the report reads, “No additional force was provided to accompany the grief-stricken officer nor any assurance about the safe passage was given. The officers were left to manage with their personal security staff, which was inadequate in the alarming circumstances.” All officers in order to secure themselves and their families shifted to a transit camp. Officers resorted to removing their nameplates and spent sleepless nights in the transit flats guarding themselves.
Sonepat district and sessions judge DS Sheoran, in his report, said the security arrangement at officers’ colony and judicial complex on February 22 evening was found “pathetic” and only four policemen were found guarding the judicial complex.
The court was told that the sub-divisional judicial magistrate, Ganaur, reported that the DSP and SDM, who lived in the same locality as this officer, locked their houses and were away on duty but no security arrangement was made for the security of officer Narender Singh. Similar complaints have been made by sub-divisional judicial magistrate Nidhi Bansal and Sonepat additional sessions judge Gagan Geet Kaur, who had submitted that the situation was so bad that she had to find a safe exit in her house so that in case of emergency she could flee from there.
The Hisar district and sessions judge has reported that judicial officers posted at Hansi reported of no proper security for judicial complexes and residences of judicial officers during the period; and that policemen deployed for security of the judicial complex were withdrawn to be deployed at other places.
Strangely, the Bhiwani district and sessions judge reported that no judicial officer in the district had sounded him on any untoward incident with them. However, a letter written to the Haryana State Legal Services Authority by Bhiwani chief judicial magistrate Swati Sehgal had said that despite a volatile situation during the agitation the administration did not depute even a single police or army personnel for safety of judicial officers in Bhiwani. “Despite requests no order for patrolling in area of the judicial complex and judicial colony in Bhiwani was issued by the civil and police authorities,” her letter had said.